When I design some stock or investment related things, I found that China is different from country like US. In US, red color represent a negative trend, and green represent a positive one. In the contrast, China use the red to represent the positive, and green for the negative. What else company have the same color schema like China? Thanks.

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    Wow, the things you learn. I had no idea. Commented Apr 13, 2012 at 10:33
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    I thought this was one of the things that was pretty much a worldwide 'standard'.. I can tell you that in most countries (most likely all countries) in Europe, it works the same way you described (green = up/positive, red = down/negative). Also, interesting question.
    – paddotk
    Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 19:16
  • Same happens with symbols, even western cultures are not as unified as one thinks. Variation is big, best not interpolate that your meaning is what you think of is outside your native cultures.
    – joojaa
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 5:47
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    Note: green does not in general represent anything negative on its own in China, but red is culturally seen as a positive colour. The basic colour of death/negativity is white. Also note that globalisation is changing this in some spheres—traffic lights and signs, for example, use red and green (and amber) the same way as in the west: red is stop, amber is wait, green is go. Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 9:59

5 Answers 5


I'm not sure how reliable it is, but this link seems to have a fairly comprehensive list of color meanings grouped by specific culture. I know that red is typically seen as a lucky color in many eastern cultures whereas it's seen as a danger flag in most western cultures (stop signs, emergency power switches, fire alarms, self-destruct buttons, etc.).

I'm sure there are some decent cog sci or sociology papers on this, but it seems like you're looking for more of a guide to color use in design in various cultures.

Edit: This chart may be a little easier to use; it seems like it was made by / directed more toward designers


In mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, red represents positive and green or black represents negative.

In Korea, red also represents positive but blue represents negative.

In Chinese culture, red symbolizes good fortune and joy. Japanese were influenced by Chinese culture and started this convention, which is then adapted by China.

In mainland China, Taiwan and Japan, these conventions are associated with philosophical meanings Yin and Yang. Yin means negative and Yang means positive. So we called the bullish candlestick "Yang line" and "Yin line" for the bearish one.

In monochrome charts, Yin and Yang are represented with black and white. In colored charts, red traditionally symbolizes the yang force in East Asian culture.

Monochrome Yin Yang mainland China, Taiwan Japan


I can only speak for countries I know of. Generally in English speaking countries, there's a phrase "in the red" which means in debt. If your bank account is "in the red" for example, it means you owe money. So in terms of the economy/or stocks and shares which are money related, things that are red often mean bad/going down. Red also means stop/danger/off, whereas green can mean go/safe/on. Traffic lights are an example of this.

However red can also have some positive meanings too, like warm/hot, whereas blue means cool/cold, or red can mean ripe as in fruit/berries. Red/rosy cheeks are associated with healthiness. Red cross ambulances bring help/aid. We sometimes use the colour red when we want to make something more noticeable, for example colouring text red. We also often associate the colour with Christmas time: Father Christmas (Santa Clause) who wears red, holly has red berries, robin's have red breasts, red and green together are often used at Christmas time. Also, red roses, and red heart shapes represent love. Red carpets welcome VIP/Royal guests. So it's definitely not all negative!

  • And in the US (not sure of other places), you don't want to hear "Code Blue". Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 17:37
  • @SteveRindsberg Well, we don't use "code blue" in the UK, in fact I had to google it. Not sure about others such as Canada, NZ or Australia.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 17:42
  • I suspected as much ... added the "in the US" disclaimer for just that reason. Thanks. Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 17:46

My Taiwanese friend described it to me like this: When the tree blooms, it is red. When the flowers drop off, it is green.

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